- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2021

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy welcomed moderate Democrats into the GOP camp on Wednesday after the results of the Virginia and New Jersey elections.

Mr. McCarthy, a California Republican, argued that House Democrats could see the writing on the wall after their party faltered in the two blue-leaning states. The minority leader compared the situation to that faced by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a onetime Democrat from New Jersey who flipped to the Republican Party in 2019.

“I believe the party is a big tent, and everybody’s welcome,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Jeff Van Drew left a party that was in the majority and joined the minority. … He did it because he felt the party had left him. I’ve had that discussion with quite a few members on the other side.”

He added that moderate Democrats should not be pushed to do something they “don’t believe in because the policies are wrong.”

“You’ve been reluctant right now, but join with us,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Our party is open to having other people join us.”

The comments came a day after two eye-opening setbacks for Democrats in statewide elections.

In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAullife in the gubernatorial election. Mr. McAullife, who previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018, attempted to nationalize the race in recent weeks.

On television and on the stump, Mr. McAullife lambasted Mr. Youngkin as a far-right extremist and tried to link him to former President Donald Trump.

The tactic backfired with Republicans not only winning the governorship but also sweeping all of the statewide races and possibly flipping control of the Virginia House of Delegates.

The result shocked lawmakers and pundits, who believed the state was safe. President Biden won Virginia last year by around 10 percentage points.

In deep-blue New Jersey, which Mr. Biden won by 16 points in 2020, Democrats similarly fared poorly. Although the governor’s race remains too close to call, the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Phil Murphy, only holds a narrow thousand-vote lead.

The results have put moderate House Democrats, especially those with reservations about Mr. Biden’s $1.75 trillion social welfare bill, in a difficult spot. Many hold seats that are considered top pick opportunities for Democrats next year.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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